No other delicacy in the world is as popular as chocolate. Chocolate not only tastes good, but it also contains antioxidants that protect the body and reduce the risk of certain diseases. Moreover, it contains a substance that makes the brain produce endorphins, which in turn make you feel happy.
But the road from cocoa bean to chocolate bar is long, not always transparent and full of bumps. Problems such as deforestation, poverty and exploitation are still common. Fortunately, many cacao products now carry an UTZ, Rainforest Alliance, Fairtrade or other certification mark which guarantees that the chocolate has been produced in a responsible manner. In addition, chocolate makers in the Netherlands, Belgium and beyond are engaged in a dialogue about further change and improvement in the chocolate industry. The traceability of cocoa beans to the plantation and improvement projects for cocoa farmers and biodiversity are central to this.
De Bijenkorf Patisserie
From 1914, each de Bijenkorf store had its own patisserie, where cakes, small pastries, desserts and chocolate were made according to traditional methods. In 2003, the current central bakery was opened, with a special chocolate atelier. Here, chocolates, pralines, chocolate letters and more are still made using traditional methods, with cocoa that comes exclusively from Cacao-Trace plantations. Cacao-Trace focuses on improving agricultural practices, increasing the quality of cocoa production and ensuring a fair price for cocoa farmers. Also in the further chain from bakery to shop we do our utmost to operate in a human, animal and environmentally friendly way. For example, we’ve had people with a social handicap or disability working in our patisserie for over 10 years.
The Dutch brand Tony’s Chocolonely was founded specifically to put an end to the great inequality within the cocoa chain, which fuels the vicious circle of modern slavery, illegal child labour and extreme poverty. And of course to make irresistibly delicious chocolate. Their strategy to turn the chocolate industry completely upside down has three components: raising awareness, setting a good example and motivating others to join in.
Belgian chocolate maker Neuhaus has been crafting delicious chocolate pralines, chocolates, biscuits and bars since 1857. And although they are quite modest about it, Neuhaus is one of the pioneers in the field of good chocolate. They buy the cocoa beans directly from their own plantation. The cocoa farmers are therefore assured of a sustainable income, fair wages and safe and healthy working conditions without child labour. And Neuhaus is guaranteed a superior quality chocolate thanks to the knowledge of the local cocoa farmers, with UTZ certification and only natural ingredients.
Chocolates from heaven
Belgian Koen Klingele originally wanted to work in development cooperation, but during his studies he ended up in the world of chocolate. His brand Chocolates from Heaven is first and foremost about enjoyment, but without guilt. That is why all chocolate of this brand is 100% organic and Fairtrade certified. No refined sugars, soya or genetically modified raw materials, no child slavery, just an honest income for the farmers. Moreover, part of the turnover goes to planting new trees on cocoa plantations in Papua New Guinea and Peru. More than 3,500 trees have already been planted. Good for our climate, biodiversity and the earth.